Bipolar patients state that cannabis helps the mania component of their disorder while simultaneously improving their outlook. Patients with anxiety disorders report that cannabis allows them to relax, calm racing thoughts, overcome social anxiety and sleep. They are more likely to use only cannabis than patients with bipolar disorder. They often report having done poorly on prescription medications such as xanax or prozac and prefer cannabis for its effectiveness and minimal side effects.
Patients with depression also report doing well with cannabis, again either alone or in combination with anti-depressant medications. They report improved mood and outlook along with an improved day-to-day level of functioning both at home and with work. Another group of patients doing well with cannabis are those with anger management disorders. Patients state that cannabis helps them to process information in a more even-tempered way. It allows them to think through a situation and consider the other person’s point of view rather than reacting in explosive anger. Although relatively few patients report using cannabis for this purpose, it is evident that if more practitioners were aware that cannabis could be used to help these patients that many more would do so. Another good case for more research!
Cannabis is an excellent medication for insomnia owing to its rapid onset and lack of residual effects in the morning. Patients report falling asleep quickly and waking the next morning without the fogginess or residual sedation so common with prescription medications. Effective treatment of attention deficit disorder is always the most surprising to physicians new to cannabis medicine. Many of the patients seeking cannabis for this disorder are young and are more likely to be suspected of seeking to obtain cannabis for non-medical purposes. This suspicion is quickly quieted by the number of patients accompanied by their parents who testify for the dramatic improvement in their child’s behavior and school performance when using cannabis. Every physician with large numbers of cannabis patients report similar experiences. About half the patients continue their ADD prescription medications but nearly always in lower doses. Most psychiatric patients are on more than one medication and most have gone through multiple medication trials before settling on their current regimen.
Since most patients using cannabis for psychiatric conditions use far fewer prescription medications, if more psychiatrists and other prescribing physicians were knowledgeable in the therapeutic psychiatric uses of cannabis, billions of dollars could be saved annually by reducing the amount of expensive prescription medications now in use.